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Eve Kushner's Blog

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As 2012 has brought us the Year of the Dragon, and as I've just posted essay 1899 on 竜 (dragon), it seems fitting to present you with this quick quiz about dragons! What do you think this could mean: 竜涎香 (りゅうぜんこう)    dragon + slobber + smell The middle kanji is non-Joyo. I'...
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Happy New Year! Hope your holidays were great. I'm just back from a wonderful trip to the Canary Islands (via Zurich). Over nine days I logged in 35 hours of flying time, so I had lots of time to read. For seven straight hours I read a Mishima story in Japanese that came with bountiful English...
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  Hello, Friends of Joy o' Kanji (aka JOKers)! I've embarked on a lifelong project called Joy o' Kanji. And I'm thrilled to report that, as of today, the project has launched! The website that has been under construction for eons is finally ready. Hooray! Hallelujah! Wahoo! Here's the address...
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Ira Glass says something about creativity that I've never heard before, and it's right on the money. Reposting from Facebook.
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Lots of press coverage for Quilts4Japan lately!  • On May 3, PBS TV personality Nancy Zieman (who hosts the show "Sewing With Nancy") blogged about our effort:  http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/?p=346 • So did Anneli Rufus of the "East Bay Express" on May 13:  http://www....
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Today the "Albany Patch" published Dorothy Brown's wonderful photo essay on Quilts4Japan (the organization that Gail Shea and I started after the disasters in Japan): http://albany.patch.com/articles/quilter-kanji-lover-create-quilts4japan... The story is in the captions under the eight...
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Spring is usually a hopeful time, but those of us who love Japan feel particularly devastated and helpless right now. To remedy this, officemate Gail Shea and I have launched an effort called Quilts4Japan, wherein we're asking people from all parts of the country and even the world to donate quilts...
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Today I have a mix of news: the good, the bad, and the ugly.   The Good I was on the radio again this week, talking about some unusual Japanese terms. Ever since Patrick Cox interviewed me on “The World in Words” in the fall of 2008, I’ve been sending him amusingly specific Japanese...
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Today we’ll do things backward. Try your hand at a bevy of quizzes, all involving 刺 (SHI, sa(su), sa(saru), sa(shi), sashi, toge: to stab, pierce, prick, sting; thorn; business card), a kanji we’ve examined over the past few weeks. In the answer notes, you’ll find sample sentences. In other...
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As we saw last week, 刺 (SHI, sa(su), sa(saru), sa(shi), sashi, toge: to stab, pierce, prick, sting; thorn; business card) primarily means “to stab,” so it plays a role in many brutal words. Examining this kanji, you can quickly have your fill of stabbings, puncture wounds, and the like: 刺し傷 (...
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Let’s start with a quiz. The kanji 刺 primarily means “to stab.” Given that, what do you think the following words might mean? 刺身     The second kanji means “body.” 刺青     The second kanji means “blue.” 名刺     The first kanji means “name.” I’ll block the answers with Alberto’s haiku calendar...
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Take a look at the following sentence to see if you recognize anything: 政府は過激派グループの活動を注意深く監視した。 Whenever I confront unknown kanji, I try to identify components and patterns. In this case, one thing jumps out at me—this sentence is soggy! Five of the 12 kanji contain the “water” radical, ! In...
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It’s always exciting when a foreign language teaches you about your own, and that’s the case with the following word: 激賞 (gekishō: enthusiastic praise)     intense + praise Sample Sentence with 激賞 … I’ve long known 賞 (SHŌ) as “award” or “prize,” as in アカデミー賞, “Academy Award.” When I saw “praise” in...
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We start with Alberto’s haiku calendar for March. It’s lovely, as always, but there’s one difference this time; he’s the one who wrote the haiku! お疲れさまでした! (Otsukaresamadeshita! Good job!)  Now we’ll return from the ethereal haiku world and come back down to earth with a thud! In an ongoing...
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